JCL Blog

Resisting Overproduction

Everyone with a DVR knows that there are only 40 minutes of content in every hour of TV.   When you hear the host say "Stay with us" or "We will be right back" or "We are taking a break" what comes to mind? These and other conventions from radio and TV, fade in and fade out music for example, are often viewed as signs of professionalism.  I propose they are overproduction and reduce the value of the experience.  Begging the viewer/listener to endure a commercial is a dead giveaway to old media does not seem fit our new media reality.

Here are three podcasts that I listen to that range from new media to old media.  How much content do you think there is in each one of these podcasts?  

The Advertising Show

Cranky Geeks

Rebooting the News

I admit, this is not really fair because Rebooting the News does not have any advertising at all -- so it is 100% content (and an amazing podcast).  Cranky Geeks would be next -- 3 short breaks for ads at one minute each -- but they are not that intrusive and I don't even hit the 2X button on my iPod.  27 minutes of content out of 30.  I am a big fan of John Dvorak.  I was following him before there even was a world wide web and I am still not tired of him.  I suspect that all of us are more than happy to sit through the adds -- just for John.  The advertising on Cranky Geeks works -- I use both Go Daddy, and SquareSpace because I want to do my part to keep Cranky Geeks going.  On The Advertising Show -- well you make your own determination, but I leave my iPod on 2x for as long as I can last -- and even then I rarely make it through the whole thing.  It has to be at least half filler and advertisements.

So if you are going to put ads in your podcast -- pick advertisers that will resonate with your audience -- and resist the pull of overproduction.

PS:  Ira Glass says "Stay with us" on This American Life -- and I just don't get that.  His content and production quality are legendary and he holds my attention the whole way through -- not sure why he says it.

Parallel Universes

Anyone in tech not watching Cranky Geeks is really missing out.  In the past few weeks, John Dvorak and Sebastian Rupley have become the new Smothers Brothers with the straight man - slow guy routine.   Of course they claim to be covering the tech news, and they do regularly have good guests, but it is much more entertainment than anything else.

Now I don't know if either of the geeks has any musical talent, and their humor is certainly not  as widely appreciated, but I find myself busting up every time John Dvorak asks who Om Giga is.  One could say the Cranky Geeks are a parallel universe of the Smothers Brothers show.

This brings up something I wonder about often.  Of the people that participate in the technology industry we seem to have a few parallel universes.  Three that I think about are the Channel, the Geeks, and the New Media.  People and companies often operate in more than one universe, but sometimes it surprises me how much distance there is between them.  

The Channel is concerned mostly with how technology products are sold to businesses and the discussion is usually around the channel partner programs of the main vendors and how the go to market propositions differ from vendor to vendor.  The leading commentators are Everything Channel and Channel Insider and the leading association would be CompTIA.

The Geeks are concerned mostly with the technology itself and the discussion often revolves around new product launches, technology standards, and how the makers of the products are getting along.  The commentators include PC MagazineTechCrunchCnet and the leading association would be CEA.  The Cranky Geeks are probably in this group and maybe Robert Scoble and Leo Laporte.  I sometimes cannot decide where those guys actually fit.

The New Media are the bloggers and maybe some institutions like the New York Times.  The discussion in this group is mostly about how technology is changing the way we consume information and the impact on the newspapers, TV stations, movies, music, and ultimately our society. The commentators include Jeff Jarvis, Dave Winer, David Weinberger, and many others of course.  

As a follower of people and organizations in all three universes I am often struck by how the conversation in one universe can be disconnected from the others.  I will be writing more about this phenomenon and would be very interested in comments on your experiences.